This was a busy week in comedy news, particularly in the television cancelation arena, but I’ll get to that in a bit. Earlier this week we covered the new Kenya Barris announcement, announced that Colin Quinn‘s new special is coming to CNN, and reported that Jo Koy, Noah Gardenswartz and Clayton English have made it to the truTV roster. Sarah Silverman made an important point this week- two important points actually with a topless shot, and learned that the Nantucket Film Festival is honoring women who made extremely important contributions to comedy this year. But nothing was bigger in comedy this week than the announcement from Amy Schumer of the arrival of Gene Attell (Schumer) Fischer. New trailers this week included one for Richard Linklater‘s upcoming movie, a trailer for Still Laugh In, and a look at Jim Gaffigan as a family man with a secret– he’s actually a two family man. And in features, we talked with David Cross about his new fantastic hour, took a look back at Chris Kattan‘s greatest SNL sketches, Ted Alexandro shared his 5 Favorite British Crime Dramas with us, got some insight from the Women in Comedy Festival, and talked about Nick Di Paolo’s big controversial boner, and by that we mean mistake, not the other kind.
But we only scratched the surface of everything that happened in comedy this week. Every week there are dozens of stories that just squeeze out a tiny bit of information- hardly enough to merit a click. So we save those up and put them all in one post, because we know how much you all hate unnecessary clicks.
Before we get into tv and movie news and there’s plenty of that, a not too quick recap on the inaugural Connecticut Comedy Festival which surpassed all the expectations of everyone involved. 450 people were in attendance for the kick off show with Chris DiStefano. Joe Gerics and Beecher performed as well, and the night was a gigantic success. This was Chris’ first solo theater show and organizer Emilio Savone felt particularly thrilled to be able to produce such a special event. On night two, over $1k was raised for cancer research, with amazing comedy from Leah Bonnema, and Vicky Dussich whom is the chair person for Team Meg (a foundation for cancer research) sang a few songs on each show which really added to the night.
The 3rd and 4th day/night were full festivities with people were hanging out (comics and comedy goers). Joe Gerics podcast “It’s A Hustle” did its first live recording and it was open to anyone who wanted to attend.A genuine celebration of comedy in the area. Rell Battle also came in Saturday to perform on the Saturday night shows along with Sunday and along with New York Comedy Club booker Amy Hawthorne, was a guest on the podcast. Joe interviewed Amy, Rell, Emilio Savone, and Paul Virzi for 10 minutes each. From 4pm all the way to 1 am the night was a revolving door of people coming to hang out, watch shows, or meet up at our after show headquarter bar Craft260. Comedians from the shows in Stamford came by to take part in the after show festivities, which created a real sense of community and that feeling carried over into Sunday at the closing day festivities in Bridgeport at the Bijou Theater at a packed show, Best of the Fest and an even more packed Roast Battle afterwards. Sunday was a culmination of comedians and people who had been with us all week along with some NYCC staff, roast battle team members, judges, and local celebrities coming to finish off what had been an amazing 1st time festival. All of the satellite shows in Northern Ct and Stamford were all sold out and many had standing room only. Ryan Brauth’s Comedy Craft Beer series, which was a huge part of the week ran 6 shows at 6 different breweries ranging from Hartford to Stamford (which is 2 hours from each other) had all sold out shows. Savone said they were so fortunate to have such amazing partnered venues and sponsors; and already have firm commitments for next year which will be even bigger and better now that they have a formula under their belts. All in all the fest had close to 2000 people in attendance over 4 days, over 60 comics, $1000 raised for cancer research, and 4 major sponsors, with 15 shows at 9 venues throughout 7 towns.. not too shabby for a 1st time festival.
On to network tv news. The big news this week is all network related. Cancels, renewals, and some new shows greenlit. Here’s the rundown.
Steve Harvey’s daytime show is done. He won’t be hosting NBC’s Little Big Shots anymore either. That gig is going to Melissa McCarthy who will host season four. The show returns in February 2020.
CBS cancelled Damon Wayans Series, Happy Together, Life in Pieces starring Dianne Wiest and James Brolin will end after four seasons, and the Murphy Brown revival will not be getting another season. Also going is Fam, with Tone Bell, and while not cancelled, The Big Bang Theory ended its long run, as planned. ABC said goodbye to Splitting Up Together which starred Jenna Fisher, as well as The Kids Are Alright with Mary McCormick. On the CW, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend wrapped but that was planned, and Jane the Virgin will not be returning. FOX is cancelling troubled comedy series Lethal Weapon and The Cool Kids which was set in a retirement community where characters played by Martin Mull, David Alan Grier and Vicky Lawrence resided. Andy Cohen’s revival of Love Connection just got un-revived, and Rel, the Lil Rel Howery vehicle won’t be returning. And on NBC Amy Poehler produced project I Feel Bad is getting the heave ho, and Marlon Wayans series Marlon is also out. And on TBS, we’ve seen the last of Angie Tribeca. The parody comedy is cancelled.
There were also some comedy renewals this week. ABC is happy with its comedies and gave the lions share of renewals. They’re bringing back Single Parents starring Taran Killam, Brad Garrett and others, The Goldbergs is getting a seventh season at ABC, and its spinoff series, Schooled will get a second. The Connors was already announced to return and we’ll be seeing more from Bless This Mess, and Single Parents which will get second seasons, American Housewife will be back for its fourth go around, and Fresh Off the Boat moves forward to its sixth season. Seth McFarlane’s The Orville will get a season three pickup at FOX. CBS renewed Man With a Plan starring Matt LeBlanc.
Not everyone is excited about their renewals. Constance Wu, star of Fresh Off the Boat went on a fuck filled twitter spiel after finding out her series was renewed, saying it’s not great news and that she was so upset she was literally crying, which she followed up with an “ugh” and a “fuck.” She also commented “dislike” on the show’s instagram post celebrating the renewal. She later semi apologized for her ranting and said her displeasure is not for the reasons we’re all assuming. The easy assumption would be that her market value has gone up since appearing in Crazy Rich Asians or that there is a project she’s been offered, or a personal situation that she really wanted to pursue, and now can’t due to contractual obligations to the show. But perhaps there’s a deeper mystery here.
New pickups announced this week– ABC picked up United We Fall, family sitcom described as “profoundly realistic” starring Christina Vidal and Will Sasso as parents of young kids trying to make it day to day as a functioning family that includes a live-in grandparent played by Jane Curtain, and a large Latin Catholic set of inlaws on the other side of the family. Over on NBC, The Kenan Show is official. Also official is the news that Kenan will NOT be leaving Saturday Night Live. Chris Rock is going to direct and EP in the series about a newly widowed dad determined to make everything okay for his kids, while letting his father in law stay involved in their lives. Two more new comedies coming to NBC Perfect Harmony starring Bradley Whitford (which, as you may have guessed will take a stab at incorporating music) and Indebted which hails the return of Fran Drescher in a co-starring role with Adam Pally, Abby Elliott, and Steven Weber. Also on NBC comes Sunnyside starring Kal Penn as a young councilman in New York City whose career is just about done until he meets some young immigrants who need his help. Young rising comedy stars Joel Kim Booster and Moses Storm are in the cast. Over at FOX, the network picked up live-action family comedy Outmatched and from the creators of Bobs Burgers, a new animated series titled The Great North. Outmatched follows Jason Biggs and Maggie Lawson as a blue-collar couple in South Jersey trying to get by and raise four kids, three of whom just happen to be certified geniuses. The Great North follows the animated Alaskan adventures of the Tobin family as single dad Beef does his best to keep his weird bunch of kids close, especially as the artistic dreams of his only daughter Judy lead her away from the family fishing boat and into the glamorous world of the local mall. Also previously picked up were two additional animated series, Bless The Harts and Duncanville.
Phoebe Robinson has signed an overall deal with ABC Studios. Phoebe is one half of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and a comedian, writer and actor. She will develop and perform in new projects for the studio.
In streaming land, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt may be done as a Netflix series, but she’ll be back with a streaming special in 2020. Tina Fey announced the special but provided no additional details. Source: CNN
Paul Feig news this week. Feig is on a list of EP’s for a new genre bending comedic musical sci fi drama coming to NBC. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist will be set in Silicon Valley with Jane Levy in the lead role as Zoey, a computer coder who can hear others thoughts in the form of elaborate musical numbers. It’s being labeled a musical dramedy, with hour long episodes. Source: Playbill.
More movie news…Matt Walsh and Isla Fisher will star in Unplugging. The duo stars as a couple who have lost their spark, and their daughter who is iPad fixated. A quiet remote mountain town getaway is planned to re-kindle things but unearthly encounters, strong edibles, cranky locals, and a pesky one-eyed dog cause a change of plans. Will they reconnect?
Hot property Tiffany Haddish is teaming up with Chris Hemsworth for the obligatory buddy cop action comedy, Down Under Cover. Hemsworth is an undercover detective investigating casino heists. Under suspicion- a group of Australian male erotic dancers. Haddish teams up with him, but she’s used to doing things her own way. Source: Deadline
A Bobs Burgers movie continues to be in development. This was revealed this week when Disney put out its upcoming film release slate- remember they just aquired FOX. Although nothing has been released in terms of detail, the film still has a Summer 2020 release date. Source: Indiewire.
And Natasha Lyonne will join Steve Carell in Jon Stewart’s upcoming comedy film (his first in the genre), Irresistible. The political satire is Stewart’s second feature film.
Dave Chappelle is going to be the next recipient of comedy’s highest honor. He will be the 22nd recipient of the The Mark Twain Prize, awarded in a ceremony at the Kennedy Center on October 28th and will air on PBS next January. Last year Julia Louis Dreyfus grabbed the prestigious award. Source: New York Times
Louis C.K. is fighting back after a video of a performance was leaked from a show he did at Governors in Long Island. Anyone who attended his Minnesota shows this week at Acme Comedy Club were greeted with a Yondr bag to lock up their phones (pretty common these days) and a legal notice (pretty uncommon). The notice is pretty straightforward CK owns all the material he performs, and that anyone who shares that material in any format without his express prior written consent will be “subject to all available legal remedies, whether in equity or at law at the cost of anyone who violates this prohibition.” All of that is true whether CK or the club shares that information with patrons or not, and the reality is, this is not a big deal at all. But it’s really unusual and a sign of the further formalization of the comedy club experience which once upon a time was a pretty casual down and dirty experience. The act of putting it in the club-goers faces as they walk in is fairly aggressive for a comedy club and seems to take away from the fun part. It’s a threat, really. Of course CK isn’t interested in suing, he’s interested in preventing any material sharing in the first place, and given what a gigantic story his act is these days, its tempting for fans or enemies to want to try to walk away with a recording. The expected jokes about CK wanting consent were rampant on twitter after the news broke. Source: Twitter.
In Late Night this week, Phil Hanley had a great set on the Tonight Show. You can watch it here. And New Zealand comedian Rose Matafeo killed it on Conan, watch her set here. The Late Late Show welcomed stand up comedian Andy Sandford, you can see his set here.
Comedian and new mom Christine Meehan-Berg is releasing her debut stand-up album, Bumped on May 29, 2019 via You Lucky Dog Productions. Bumped is the sound of a very funny, very pregnant woman doing comedy with the sort of determination and sense of purpose one might anticipate from someone performing live while nine months pregnant – these are jokes that couldn’t wait! While this comedy will resonate with moms everywhere, it truly has universal appeal as Meehan-Berg speaks hilarious truth about sex, relationships, marriage, and of course having kids. They say children remind you of what’s important, which is to laugh at them! Delaware Born, Meehan fell into stand up comedy while living in Philadelphia. She moved to New York in 2010, and has become a regular in the New York club scene performing at Stand Up New York, the New York Comedy Club, Gotham, Carolines & more.
Erin Foley is about to release a comedy album with 800 Pound Gorilla titled Deep Dive. Foley is a comedian, writer, comedic actress and genuine talent powerhouse who continues to crush audiences nationwide with her hysterical view on life, spot-on humor, rapid-fire speech, and acerbic wit. Foley’s razor-sharp observational comedy has garnered her big laughs on popular shows and networks such as Conan, Arsenio Hall, Chelsea Lately, and Comedy Central both on @midnight as well as her own Comedy Central Presents special. She’s also a formidable live performer, having slayed the stages of the San Francisco Sketch Fest, Moontower Comedy Festival, Limestone Comedy Festival and a five time repeat at the prestigious Montreal Comedy Festival. Her podcast, Sports Without Balls, can be found on the All Things Comedy network.
Conan and company settled their joke theft lawsuit- obviously the amount was undisclosed- but Conan could not stay quiet about the decision to pay off the plaintiff. He issued a lengthy (and a bit arrogant) statement about how he can be 100% certain his staff was innocent which seems a bit impossible unless he himself secretly wrote the jokes in question. But what he wanted to make clear (I think), is that he wasn’t settling because he believed they were guilty. He was settling because he was tired of the time and expense that was going into a trial over a couple of monologue jokes. He described how easy it is for two separate people to come up with identical jokes without knowing about the other (very true) and how the internet age has made such possibilities even more common (also true). But of course none of this has any bearing on what actually happened in this particular case. But we’ll agree that most cases of identical bits are just that- parallel thinking, and the alleged victim in this case got some money, the courts are less cluttered so overall, a winning result for everyone. They probably didn’t steal the jokes, and no amount of testimony or expert witnesses will get us any closer to knowing the truth so congratulations to everyone.
The Punch Line in San Francisco is losing its home. Their lease is up in August and a renewal could not be negotiated so after 41 years in that location, the club is looking for a new home. The club is undeterred and promises to find a suitable new spot before their lease ends in August. Source: The Comics Comic.
Seth Rogen snapped at Mel Gibson’s new Santa Claus movie, Fatman. He responded on Twitter to a news story about the upcoming comedy with the comment Ho-ho-holocaust denier. He wasn’t the only one, Rogen’s comment opened a floodgates of remarks aimed at Gibson’s anti-semitic history. See the Tweet. . Fatman is about a spoiled kid who hires a hitman to kill the famously festive Lapland resident. Executive producers include Rough House Partners, Brandon James, David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and Jody Hill. Filming begins in 2020.
Comedy Central announced the launch of Comedy Central Productions (CCP), a new studio-production arm partnering with comedy’s best writers, producers and on-screen talent to develop compelling, premium comedy content and bring it to market via distribution partners and buyers on all TV and digital platforms. Comedy Central Productions is launching with first-look development deals in place with Paulilu, the production company from Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs who served as executive producers and writers on Broad City. Also on board is Anthony King, Tony Award-nominated writer of hit musical Beetlejuice; writer and executive producer on franchises including Silicon Valley, Search Party, and Comedy Central’s upcoming Robbie. Irony Point, the New York based production company run by Daniel Powell, who oversees development, and Alex Bach, who oversees production, also has a deal. And Stuart Miller, an executive producer on the upcoming series Klepper (Comedy Central). He served as co-executive producer on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central) and executive producer for The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper (Comedy Central), Ferrell Takes the Field (HBO) and Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons (HBO).
Since March, comedians and actors have said they will pressure a boycott of doing business in the State of Georgia and its not because Nick Di Paolo moved there. They’re refusing to perform in the state after Georgia’s governor signed a new “heartbeat” abortion bill to become law. Michael Ian Black, Alec Baldwin, Christina Applegate, Don Cheadle, Laverne Cox, David Cross, John Cryer, Tim Heidecker, Rosie O’Donnell, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Alia Shawkat, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Nick Thune, David Wain, and Ben Stiller had all pledged to stay the hell away from the state (once any current contractual obligations are satisfied) because of the law, but the law got signed this week anyway. This week Mark Duplass, Jordan Peele and JJ Abrams joined the group. Peele and Abrams have a new HBO series, Lovecraft, that’s supposed to start filming in Georgia next week. While they can’t bail on filming there at this late date, both Peele and Abrams have pledged to donate 100 percent of our respective episodic fees for this season to two organizations leading the charge against this draconian law: the ACLU of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia. Will it work? It didn’t stop the Governor from signing the bill, but the last time Hollywood vowed to stay out of state, North Carolina rescinded their transgender bathroom laws. Source: The Hill